This Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan is a fairly new addition to the Hilton portfolio, having joined in late 2014. It is located on 42nd street, between 6th and 7th Avenues, being a stone’s throw away from the mania of Times Square.
Entry is via fairly discreet automatic doors on 42nd Street, from which you can take an elevator up to the lobby or your guestroom. There are 36 floors in total, making it a very tall building.
Nearby, there are the standard shops at Times Square such as clothing and candy stores, as well as various office buildings. About a 10 minute walk away, one can reach various museums such as the MoMA. I’m not an NYC local, so I personally didn’t feel much of an appeal about the area and would probably recommend other areas to stay at, unless you have to be at Times Square.
Check-in was efficient without many qualms. The check-in agent explained that my HHonors Diamond breakfast can be taken in the hotel restaurant, which was in front of the front desk. Vouchers were provided for the breakfast, as well as an invitation to join the Hilton Club. Two complimentary bottles were also provided – and were found later in the room.
I booked a standard room and was upgraded to Queen Bed City Skyline Views Room, despite upgrades not being a Diamond benefit under the HHonors program. I did not request this upgrade, so having it provided was a nice touch.
There is also an area next to the front desk which has small knickknacks for purchases, such as snacks, toothbrushes, etc.
The room itself was compact at about 18m², which wasn’t a surprise given its proximity to Times Square. The bed however was large and comfortable – a little on the softer side. I’m not a big fan of the Hilton Garden Inn bedsheets though and the pillows were a bit too soft for me.
The window opens slightly to allow air in and when sealed shut, blocks out most of the street noise. However, despite the high floor (I think I was near the top floor) in a 36-floor hotel, road noise was still very much audible even late at night. Not sure if this can be helped around Times Square, but it was nevertheless a surprise.
The room and its furnishings were still very new, well kept and quite clean. Hopefully this standard can be maintained.
The work desk was a decent size and rectangular, so was quite practical for getting work done. Whilst there was a Herman Miller chair provided, I didn’t find this very comfortable as there is limited back support and no arm rests.
The mini-bar was empty, but there was complimentary tea and coffee provided – the coffee is of the pod kind, made via a pod machine. There is also a microwave which may come in handy, but be mindful that it may stink up the room a little bit given how small it is. Best to open the window a little if you want to use the microwave.
The wardrobe had a safe, iron, ironing board and a few hangers. No bathrobes and slippers.
The bathroom was also very compact, but quite functional and clean. Bathroom amenities were from Neutrogena, which I believe is a brand standard for Hilton Garden Inns. New dental kits or razors were provided by default and I had to request this from the front desk. The front desk didn’t have any Hilton ones in stock, leaving me no choice to buy one from their amenities pantry.
One of my pet hates is showers which use curtains to block water. Luckily no such curtains to be found here, as glass doors are used to hop in and out of the shower. Phew!
The shower head is bolted to the wall and shoots down at an angle. The water took a long time to warm up – so long that I just had to shower in the cold.
There is a little bit of rust which is forming on one of the grab bars. Not a deal breaker, but something management should be mindful of if they wish to maintain the property well.
Breakfast was provided in the restaurant in front of the check-in desk, and was free of charge as an HHonors Diamond member. It was a buffet ordeal with both hot and cold options, although the spread was fairly limited. I don’t visit the U.S. often, but from anecdotal reports, the spread was probably above average when compared with other properties. The restaurant itself is fairly small though, with probably around 25 tables.
Omelettes, freshly-cooked eggs and pancakes could also be ordered from the chef at the kitchen counter. The chef had a great attitude and was quite cheery despite the no-doubt tough job he does day-in-day-out.
Complimentary tea and coffee were also available from dispensers near the entrance of the restaurant.
All in all, a decent breakfast. Despite the breakfast being complimentary as a Diamond benefit, I provided a tip anyway for the servers and the chef, who both had a great attitude.
A few days after checking out, I received an email from the front desk manager asking for any comments. While I had generally enjoyed my stay, I gave some constructive feedback on some points of possible improvement. These included:
- The street noise perhaps being further reduced
- Better heating of water for showering
- Dental kits and razors not being provided as standard
- Not leaving guests with no choice but to purchase ‘branded’ dental kits from the amenities pantry when none was provided by default
While I didn’t expect any compensation, the front desk manager actively offered 20,000 HHonors points by way of service recovery. I’m always happy to receive extra points and of course gladly accepted. This left a great lingering impression of the lengths that management will go to please guests, especially when I paid a cheap rate of around USD 150!
All up, this is a good hotel with solid product offerings and great service from the staff level, all the way up to management. While there are some shortcomings, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.
Location-wise, I probably wouldn’t stay unless I had to be around the Times Square area. However, if you were to stay here, I’m confident that the stay will be satisfactory, leaving you with a lasting positive impression.